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Thursday, July 2, 2020

Five states N148bn richer as FG approves refund for federal roads rehabilitation

Says no more refund henceforth 

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Following the approval of the Federal Executive Council (FEC), five states are to get N148.14 billion as refunds for rehabilitating or reconstructing federal roads.

 

The states are Cross River — N18,394,737,608.85, Ondo –N7,822,147,577.08, Osun — N2,468,938,876.78, Bayelsa — N38,040,564,783.40 and Rivers N78,953,067,518.29.

 

The approval followed a memo presented by the Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, at the third virtual FEC meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Council Chambers of the State House on Wednesday.

Briefing State House Correspondents on behalf of Fashola, Information and Culture Minister, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said the Council has also warned that there will be no reimbursement in future if any state government embarked on such projects without approval.

 

“You will recall that in 2016, 36 states of the federation sent a very huge bill to the federal government, asking for compensation for money that they have expended on federal roads. This prompted Mr. President to set up a committee to go and verify the claims of these 36 states, whether indeed these projects were actually constructed, were they completed in line with the federal government standards.

 

“At the end of that exercise by an inter-ministerial committee, chaired by the honorable minister of works and housing but also had ministers of education, transportation, finance, minister of state go works, DG BPP and permanent secretary cabinet office as members.

 

“At the end of that exercise, the committee recommended that the federal government should refund N550,364,297.31 billion to 31 of the 36 states, after they were convinced that, yes indeed, the projects were completed and there were federal government roads.

 

“But the claims of five other states Cross River, Rivers, Ondo, Bayelsa and Osun failed on the grounds that they did not do proper documentation and the committee felt they needed proper documentation,’’ the minister said.

 

Mohammed explained: “So the committee went back with new terms of reference to ensure that the claims of the five states were in order that is why the BPP is on the committee.

 

“ So at the end of the exercise, the committee now reported that the five states – Cross River with 20 roads and one bridge will get a refund of N18,394,737,608.85, Ondo with six roads to get a refund of N7,822,147,577.08, and Osun with two roads and one bridge to get a refund of N2,468,938,876.78.

 

“Others are Bayelsa with five roads and one bridge is to get a refund of N38,040,564,783.40 and Rivers with three roads and three flyovers bridges is to get a refund of N78,953,067,518.29.”

 

According to Mohammed, the committees confirmed that the roads and the bridges were not only completed, but in substantial good form.

 

The minister said some of the bridges and roads were built about 10 years ago.

 

Sounding a note of caution, he said: “Henceforth, if any state takes on federal government road, it will not be paid they will not get any refund. Even if you want to pay from your own pocket, you will still need the permission of the federal government and it will be supervised by the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing.”

 

Mohammed said 31 states were earlier paid the sum of N500 billion.

 

On his part, the Minister or Aviation, Sen. Heidi Sirika, said Council approved the sum of N1.65 billion for consultancy services for pre-contract services for the design and construction of Abuja airport’s second runway with a completion period of 12 months.

 

He said the contract would be executed by a consortium of consultants comprising two international consultants and Nigerian consultants.

 

“We hope to conclude the second runway if awarded before the end of the life of this administration.”

 

The Minister of Water Resources, Mr Suleiman  Adamu, disclosed that  FEC also approved N8.14 billion for the reactivation and completion of  Farim Ruwa Multi-purposeDam in Wamba Local Government Area of Nasarawa State.

 

He explained that the project which was started by the state government in 2013 was taken over by the federal government at the request of the state.

 

According to him, the project, on completion, would provide clean water for the people, irrigation farming and 20 megawatts hydro-power station.

 

“All we intend to do at the federal level is to complete the dam and then hope that we can get concessioner to take over the component of the hydropower, which includes the construction of the power house, the turbines and the transmission lines.

 

“The contract sum is N8.14 billion inclusive of all taxes with the completion period of 24 months.  It comprises dam embankment, spring lay and outlet works for the water supply and hydro-power component, 20 kilometers of access road and rehabilitation of some service quarters.”

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